Arun Gupta

How Donald Trump killed America

Donald Trump is a uniquely American threat to America. He has been tearing the country apart for five years. He wants Muslim bans and registries, to deport millions of immigrants, block all refugees, and turn all cops into deportation police.

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Far-Right Terrorism Is a Feature - Not a Bug - of Donald Trump’s Presidency

President Donald Trump is a terrorism-generating machine. In one week, America has been hit by three separate terrorist attacks directly connected to his sowing of division and promotion of violence.

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Forget Impeachment - Here Are 7 Other Ways Donald Trump’s Presidency Might Go Down in Flames

There’s an ironclad rule with Republican presidents — the greater their authoritarianism and incompetence, the more spectacular the destruction they cause.

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Protesters Blockade Immigration Prison in Portland As Cops Plead ‘Allow ICE Employees to Go Home to Their Families’

In Portland, Oregon, the prison used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement is housed in a nondescript building tucked between a highway and the waterfront south of downtown. The tan three-story structure has darkened windows and no identifying marks. It’s surrounded by an 8-feet high metal fence, guarded by a security checkpoint, and cameras outside cover every angle.

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Immigrants Aren't Bludgeons for the Far-Right to Use Against Democrats

Immigrants are not your bludgeon to use against Democrats.

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There Was a Terrorist Attack in a Colorado Walmart Last Week, and No One Is Talking About It

Scott Ostrem, a 47-year-old, white man, walked into a Walmart north of Denver on Nov. 1 and opened fire. Eyewitnesses described him as “nonchalantly” shooting shoppers with a handgun, killing three.

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'Anti-Sharia' Rallies Brought out Pro-Trump Thugs, Internet-Radicalized and Spoiling for Violence

Alt-right events are harvests of hate. They draw militants seeded by Donald Trump, fertilized in the muck of the internet, and nurtured by the more than 900 hate groups around the United States.

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Why the West Coast Will Determine the Fate of the Fossil Fuel Industry

Despite a string of victories in the last few years limiting the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure on the West Coast, Donald Trump’s presidency shows it was never going to be easy to defeat the oil and gas industry.

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More Than 1,600 Factory Workers Are Being Fired After Trump Said He'd Save Their Jobs: Here’s What They Have to Say

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana—Dragging on a cigarette as he sits in the hall of United Steelworkers Local 1999, Robert James says, “Trump stood on stage and lied about 1,100 jobs being saved at Carrier in Indianapolis.”

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Russia Had Every Reason to Hack the U.S. Presidential Election

With President Obama saying the United States will retaliate against Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the White House must make public “conclusive evidence in a form that can be independently analyzed,” as a leading technology website argues.

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How Cities Can Protect People Threatened By Trumpism

The disbelief, shock, and anguish that Donald Trump is now president-elect is giving way to waves of protests. Tens of thousands are hitting the streets in cities large and small, blocking roads, and rejecting Trump’s blatant racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia.

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FiveThirtyEight’s Prediction Model Is Failing in the Clinton-Trump Race - That's According to Its Guru, Nate Silver

Telling political junkies to stop checking fivethirtyeight.com obsessively is likely to be met by the same hollow-eyed stare from a lab rat that spends its day clicking a lever for bumps of cocaine.

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Beyond the Fight for 15: The Worker-led Fast Food Union Campaign Building Power on the Shop Floor

Last year, at age 17, Eli Fishel moved out of her parents’ house in Vancouver, Washington, squeezing into a three-bedroom apartment with five other roommates. To pay her bills as she finished high school, Fishel landed a job at Burgerville, a fast-food chain with 42 outlets and more than 1,500 employeesin the Pacific Northwest.

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Trump Supporter Pulls a Glock Pistol on Protesters at Portland Black Lives Matter Rally

Shouts and yells erupted on the fringe of a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Portland.

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The West Coast Is the World's Fifth Largest Economy -  Can It Unite to Stop Big Oil?

Rex Parris, the three-term Republican mayor of Lancaster, California, is no squishy liberal. “I believe when you walk out the door of your home, you should be safe. I think capitalism is the best economic system we have available, and the United States should have the strongest military in the world.”

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Oregon Ranchers Who Sparked Standoff Threatened to Wrap Official’s Son in Barbed Wire and Drown Him

With the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge almost three weeks old and tempers fraying at a community meeting in the nearby town of Burns, Oregon, one voice has been absent from the drama: the Fish and Wildlife Service employees whose work has been disrupted and offices turned into an armed camp by anti-government militants.

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Selling Healthy Food to People Like It's Junk Food Is a Very Bad Idea

In February, Michelle Obama heralded a new front in America’s war against obesity. During a summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America, the First Lady declared that if big food companies “are going to pour money into marketing unhealthy foods, then let’s fight back with ads for healthy foods.”

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Why the Crash in Oil Prices Should Bury 'Peak Oil' Once and for All

 In 1977 Isaac Asimov wrote of “The Nightmare Life Without Fuel.” Writing in the wake of the first Middle East oil shock, Asimov imagined cars and air conditioning as distant memories, cities mined for valuable minerals and hardware, and the last barrels of oil hoarded for agricultural and military purposes. A future of scarcity seemed in the cards after the 1979 revolution in Iran disrupted global supplies, reviving gas lines and rationing in the United States, and sending oil prices to a stratospheric $117 a barrel in today’s dollars.

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iEmpire: Apple's Sordid Business Practices Are Even Worse Than You Think

Behind the sleek face of the iPad is an ugly backstory that reveals once more the horrors of globalization. The buzz about Apple’s sordid business practices comes courtesy of the New York Times series on the “iEconomy." In some ways it’s well reported but adds little new to what critics of the Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, have been saying for years. The series' biggest impact may be discomfiting Apple fanatics who as they read the articles realize that the iPad they are holding is assembled from child labor, toxic shop floors, involuntary overtime, suicidal working conditions, and preventable accidents that kill and maim workers.

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How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign

AlterNet Editor's Note: In our recent interview with Naomi Klein, she talked about her optimistic take on the march. You can read that interview here

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Why Walmart Is a Threat to Organic Food

Only after I decided to pursue freelance journalism fulltime, thereby joining the ranks of low-wage workers, did I enter a Walmart for the first time. It was in Southern California, in the spring of 2012, and I was trying to go easy on my wallet as I crammed my car with supplies before embarking on a cross-country reporting tour.

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Why the Infatuation with Bullies Like Chris Christie?

If the media had even a trace of independence, the instant Chris Christie declared like a dainty blossom trampled roughly, “I am not a bully,” the throng of reporters would have screamed, “Liar” in a single voice and hurled their cameras, pens, notepads, recorders, iPhones and shoes at him, burying his political career.
Then they would have exited the farce and switched to the tape for those at home, showing not the highlight reel of bullying moments compiled by his own staff to promote the Governor Smackdown brand, but the warm-up at a Jersey town-hall meeting in 2010 where he announced to the audience, with the salivating glee of a hound dog cornering a lame rabbit, that a bullying moment “could happen right here, ladies and gentlemen! … Get ready! If you have your own cameras, start rolling!”
No, Christie would vanish without the browbeating and thuggery that are as indelibly linked to his tenure as the Shore is to Jersey. The real question is not why the press is so sycophantic. It’s why does the public revere a bully as savior? Why do we no longer pine for the knight-in-shining-armor, itself a fairytale version of democracy, but the leather-masked Quasimodo executing justice with cracking bones and spurting blood, or in Christie’s case, cracking insults and spurting bile at those swept up in his spectacle of torment?
It’s because these days Americans have as much familiarity with democracy as they do with homesteading on the frontier. We like to imagine ourselves as pioneering statesmen, hewing a sturdy nation from the simple tools democracy has bequeathed us – messaging, voting, debates, elections, law-making – but we are lost in the wilderness when it comes to discovering the essence of democracy.
Democracy is not the same as the perpetual-motion electoral machine. It’s both a means and end built on dialogue, respect, relationships and reason, and it’s everything Christie pummels into submission. But don’t blame the public for this sorry state of affairs. Our lives are bereft of democracy. Virtually all schools are authoritarian, as are churches. Families teeter between parental authority and youthful insubordination. Few believe consumerism is democratic (but our democracy is consumeristic). Say “workplace democracy” to anyone at the office and blank stares is the best reaction you can hope for.
Few people know how to engage in democratic discussion and dialogue. I’ve heard the same story from food-justice organizers in Brooklyn, anti-fracking activists in Ohio, warehouse workers in Chicago, and home-foreclosure defenders in Oakland. It’s back to basics. Organizing now means first building community through socializing such as potlucks, block parties and softball games, and teaching people how to collectively listen to and discuss ideas with mutual respect.
We’re at ground zero when it comes to democracy. We feel powerless to stop oil companies from frying the planet, nuke plants radiating countries, stripping oceans of life and dumping them full of garbage, and are unable to help the homeless lying beside foreclosed housing, the sick dying in the shadow of world-class hospitals, and unemployed millions desperate for jobs, even shit ones. With government hijacked by the wealthy, it’s easier to hope an iron-fisted leader can wipe the slate clean. One who scapegoats teachers as the cause of high taxes and low-achieving children, and enjoys humiliating them publicly.
The harsh reality of Christie is not his vile political persona, but the public enchanted by his bullying and the press who encourages his sadism by casting him as “a tough-talking, problem-solving pragmatist.” Christie may have muscled Democratic politicians into supporting his re-election bid last fall, but he won strong backing from Democratic voters, allowing him to pursue policies attacking the poor and public education, and coddling the wealthy and corporations.
Christie taps into something dark in the American political soul – a desire not just for order or efficiency, but pleasure in humiliating the weak. Is it surprising women are a frequent target of his abuse, who are pathologized in our society as weak?
Like every bully, Christie crossed the line, or a bridge in his instance. The silver lining is his presidential ambitions may drown in the brewing scandal so the whole nation doesn’t have to suffer him degrading women with blow-job jokes. But others like Christie will follow in his wake until we realize our society does not suffer from a lack of authoritarian bullies but a deficit of grassroots democracy.

How Life Can Be So Much Sweeter After Ditching Junk Food

As a graduate of New York’s French Culinary Institute and former chef, I’m obsessed with great food. I can remember the first time I tasted chocolate mousse, pine nuts, and avocados. Years, even decades later, I can recall the succulence of fresh prawns on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and the fiery savoriness of street food in India. All these moments were shared with family or friends, which made them especially memorable. Breaking bread with others is part of what it means to be human, and the act is wrapped up in emotional well-being, especially love.

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Welcome to Little Baghdad, California

Nabeel used to work for the Americans in Iraq. He was a security team leader for the Research Triangle Institute, a U.S. contractor that was paid more than half-a-billion dollars to run “local governance programs” throughout the country. He survived three car-bombing attempts. “I was lucky,” he says nonchalantly.

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Justin Timberlake, Corporate Collaborator

Bud Lite Platinum, the moonshine of beers, has named pop star Justin Timberlake as its new creative director. The new higher alcoholic-content, cobalt blue cousin of Bud Lite “brings a refined discerning aesthetic to beer that plays well with what I’m doing,” says the singer, who in 2013 has planned his own high-powered return (or so he says) with upcoming album “20/20 Experience.”

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How Mitt Romney Cynically Exploits White Tribalism and Resentment

SIDNEY, OHIO—At the Shelby county fairgrounds in Sidney, Ohio, on Oct. 10, a jumbotron showed a bus approaching. Image became reality as Mitt Romney’s bulbous white chariot glided into the rally of thousands. It was an impressive entrance, for those who are impressed by RVs.

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When Did Dissent Become a Crime? America's Police State on Steroids at the Conventions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- In cities hosting large gatherings such as the national political conventions or international summits, we’ve come to expect a massive militarized police presence, even as the ranks of protesters thin. But what happens to all of the new high-tech cop toys and newly passed ordinances once conventioneers leave town? They stay. 

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CORRECTION: "Gun Owners to Shoot 'Illegal' Voters" Hoax

Editor's note: It's been revealed that the two men profiled below were actually engaged in a hoax. An update has been added by the author to the original article. 

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The 99% Take on the Republican National Convention

Politics is an elaborate chess match, and in St, Petersburg one small strike was staged against the Republican National convention on Aug. 26 that revealed the thrust of President Obama’s 2012 re-election strategy.

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Why Occupy Has Faded

This article first appeared in The Guardian. 

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Has the FBI Launched a War of Entrapment Against the Occupy Movement?

With the high-profile arrest of activists on terrorism charges in Cleveland on May Day and in Chicago during the NATO summit there, evidence is mounting that the FBI is unleashing the same methods of entrapment against the Occupy Wall Street movement that it has used against left movements and Muslim-Americans for the last decade.

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